Apr 23, 2017 Last Updated 12:59 PM, Apr 20, 2017

How to control noise in healthcare facilities

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Noise in healthcare facilities and hospitals needs to be kept to a minimum, as it can have a negative impact on all people using these buildings, whether it be staff, patients or visitors.

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Recent research into noise in hospitals has shown that irritating noise pollution can actually delay the healing time of patients, and staff can be easily distracted by noise, so those responsible for safety in these sorts of buildings need to ensure that they are doing all they can to keep noise levels down.

Anything from a TV too loud to a steel bowl being dropped can cause uncomfortable noise for building users. A major problem is that these sorts of buildings tend to have reflective surfaces with long reverberation times, instead of surfaces that are capable of absorbing the sound.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has guidelines on the level of noise in hospitals that should be adhered to, ensuring the most comfortable environment for all who use the building.

Door hardware and noise

A contributor to noise in facilities can be loud door hardware products. Push pads or electric latches can produce a lot of disruptive noise, especially throughout the night when patients are trying to sleep.

When considering reducing the level of noise in a healthcare facility or hospital, think about door hardware, and whether there are any replacements that could be made.

Push pads and latches

Doors that use push pads or latches for access can be noisy. A Briton exit device with pullman latches is designed specifically for doors with high levels of traffic such as fire exit doors that are also used as access doors and interconnecting doors. These latches provide a smooth and quiet alternative to a traditional panic bolt.

Lockcases

Cheap or poor quality lockcases can cause noise when doors close as the latch bangs against the strike plate. To alleviate this problem, it’s important to invest in a good quality lock that’s latch has a silent smooth action, and doesn’t need a large closing force from the door closer to overcome the latch action, and therefore slamming the door to ensure it closes for fire safety.

Door closers

Hospital and care home staff need to move around facilities quickly and easily. Door closers that enable easy, fast movement around a building, but also ensure doors are firmly shut in the event of fire or a fire alarm actuation, are a necessity.

Hold open door closers can be noisy when a door is required to be closed for privacy or during sleeping hours. Free swinging door closers tend to be a better solution as the door can be shut quietly or left held open at any angle as the situation dictates. However, closing the door completely doesn’t mean releasing it from the sometimes noisy electro-magnetic mechanism.

These types of door closers are suitable for rooms in hospitals and care facilities as they negate the need for any force to open the door. In fact, the door appears to have no closer on it at all as closing the door is a silent process.

Acoustic door seals

Having gaps around a door is important so the door can open and close effectively. Unfortunately, these gaps allow noise to travel through. Acoustic door seals can be used in these gaps to absorb all this noise, but are well-designed so they still allow the door to be used properly.

A wide range of surface and morticed seals are available to suit almost any requirement and can also include bottom seals that automatically seal the threshold of the door when it’s in the closed position, but lift up automatically when the door is opened.

It’s really important to remember that with any door closers you have the correct specification to ensure that both internal and external doors are not slamming and that they have variable power settings to adjust to the building’s users.

At Allegion, the company has a wide range of products that are suitable for noise reduction in these facilities – whether it’s a full door specification and solution, or just a fit of a replacement door closer.

Allegion’s Try Me Product Programme gives end users, particularly facilities managers, the chance to try a door closer for free, before committing to fitting them throughout the building.

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